Easter in Iceland – what you should know before you come

Easter is a great time to visit Iceland. The winter is almost finished and you can definitely feel the spring in the air. Days are getting longer and around 2nd of Aprill, we will have 13 hours of light (sunrise at 6:46 and sunset at 20:18). That’s a lot of time to enjoy Iceland. How to get the most of your stay during Easter in Iceland? Read on!

The weather during Easter – what to expect

This year Easter is on the 1st and 2nd of April so you can expect weather changing all the time. Majestic heavy clouds, with sunrays coming through. Wind, rain or snow. But of course, it can be also sunny! Everything in a matter of an hour. The temperature can be anything from -2 to 12 C. This sounds like a perfect “behind the window weather” 🙂

Check historical whether for 31st of march here. It can give you some idea what to expect.

Can I see northern lights during Eater?

Sure you can, nights are still dark so you can expect a nice Northern Lights show. Please mind that it depends also on the clouds coverage and sun activity. You can check the Northern Lights activity here and read our Northern Lights guide here

What to wear in March and April?

I wouldn’t leave the house without warm (and waterproof) jacket, trousers and shoes. Hat and gloves could be a day saver as well. Even if at the moment the sun is shining and there is no rain or snow don’t be fooled. It can change! (and will) So remember dress accordingly to the weather and your planned activities.

The religion in Iceland – let’s paint the canvas

Most of the Icelanders belong to Evangelical Lutheran Church but you must also know that Iceland is one of the most liberal countries in the world:

Article 65: Everyone shall be equal under the law and enjoy human rights irrespective of gender, religion, opinion, national origin, race, color, property, birth, or another status.

This is a great environment for freedom of belief and there are 41 religions registered in Iceland.

According to a poll from 2015, even though a huge majority of Icelanders are members of Christian congregations, Icelanders are generally disinterested in religious matters and there is very little religious fervor in Iceland:

  1. less than half of Icelanders claim they are religious
  2. more than 40% of young Icelanders identify as atheist.
  3. 93.9% of Icelanders younger than 25 believed the world was created in the big bang,
  4. 6.1% either had no opinion or thought it had come into existence through some other means and
  5. 0.0% believed it had been created by God.

The tradition of Easter in Iceland

Easter in Iceland is a 5 day long weekend with Thursday, Friday being a bank holiday and many people use the opportunity to travel, in Iceland or internationally. As with most Icelandic holidays, it’s a time spent with family and friends.

It means that a lot of places in Iceland will be closed at that time.
Please keep that in mind when you plan your stay around that time. You can easily check the info online. Many attractions will be open though but some restaurants and grocery shops can be closed (more info on that later).

  1. Maundy Thursday – Skírdagur – This is an official holiday and the first of the five-day weekend.
  2. Good Friday – Föstudagurinn Langi –  is traditionally supposed to be a day of solemn contemplation, so fun and games are not only discouraged, they’re actually illegal according to church regulations. This is the reason why so many venues are closed on Friday and Sunday.
  3. Holy Saturday – No special tradition for this day
  4. Easter Sunday – Páskadagur – The day where everyone gets or is searching for chocolate eggs. Icelanders spent this time with families eating tons of Chocolate Easter Eggs and diner with lamb. Most of the venues will be closed on that day.
  5. Easter Monday – Annar í páskum – Good day to finish whats left of the food and a great occasion to have another free day. Yay!

Icelandic Easter Egg

Easter eggs don’t have a particularly long history in Iceland. They only arrived in the country at the beginning of the 20th century but have since become so popular that more than a hundred tonnes of chocolate in Easter egg form is sold each year. They are made of many different types of chocolate and are filled with bags of Icelandic sweets. These include chocolate covered caramel balls, toffees, licorice, boiled sweets, jelly beans and chocolates with a filling. Eggs have many different sizes (2 – 10). Obviously the bigger the more expensive it gets. If you are in Iceland around that time it is surely a great souvenir.

My son cannot wait until Easter Sunday when he gets to go on a hunt for the Egg. Me and my friends we usually exchange Easter eggs when we visit each other during Easter.

Important Information during Easter in Iceland

Opening times

Here is a great page where you can find a lot of useful information about opening times during Easter in Iceland

Grocery Shops

Here are 3 most common grocery shops in Iceland, Bonus being the cheapest and 10-11 being the most expensive one.

  1. Bonus: (update soon)
  2. Krónan: Opening times and locations 
  3. 10 – 11 (it is read “tiu – etlefu”): Opening times and locations

Alcohol shop

You can buy alcohol in Iceland only in certain shops called Vínbúðin. Beer in other grocery shops is a light beer and is not really tasty. Vínbúðin has very restricted opening hours so plan your shopping activities accordingly. Spoiler alert: it is closed on Thursday, Friday, Sunday and Monday during Eater!

Here is a list of all shops with opening times

and here is a store locator with opening hours in English

Pools

Taking a bath in one of many geothermal pools in Iceland would be definitely a highlight of your stay. On this page, you can find a list of all swimming pools categorized by location with information about opening times. Not all information is present in all pools, but you can always call them and ask. Almost everyone in Iceland speaks English!

Another page where you can find information about pools in Reykjavik 

Swimming pools in west Iceland

Swimming pools in north Iceland

Swimming pools in south Iceland

Museums

National Museum of Iceland: opening times during Easter

Events during Easter

It was founded in 2003 by Mugison, a singer-songwriter and native of Ísafjörður, and his dad. The name of the festival comes from a song by Icelandic music legend Bubbi Morthens. In Iceland, going south usually means going to Reykjavík, and Aldrei fór ég suður is proudly rooted in the northern part of the Westfjords. It’s held inside an old fish warehouse and it’s all about showcasing local talents, along with popular bands “from the south”.

Winter is finally back in the small city of Akureyri, the ski capital of Iceland. The mountains surrounding the city are full of snow, and for the people of Akureyri, that means that preparation for Iceland Winter Games is on full steam and they’re counting down to their big winter festival.

Iceland Winter Games (IWG) is running into its 5th year and is one of the fastest growing winter festivals. Starting their first year in 2014, as a single event AFP world tour Freeskiing competition, IWG has become one of the biggest winter festivals in Europe, with events ranging from ski- and snowboard competitions, on jumps carved from the snow like Icelandic volcano´s, to the Icelandic National Dog sledding championship. Outdoor and winter sports activists will find a great variety of events to enjoy or partake in… and in breathtaking landscape!

Spend the Easter with Back To Iceland!

No trip to Iceland is complete without a nice day tour to most exciting places in Iceland. Now you can book some of our tours with 15% discount! Check them out:

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